Business Color Guide For Branding

The world would be much duller without colors. Excuse the pun. It is a vital part of the human visual field. Therefore it affects how we view and understand everything around us.

But did you know that every business owner must have an understanding of colors? 

You can use them through your business as in your advertising to optimize the way you work. If you don’t use them purposefully, you could be missing out on critical ways you can impact your customers.

Read on for our ultimate guide for business owners on colors and their effects. You will find out more about the different ways you can use colors, especially in your company’s signage.

How to use colors in your business

There is almost no limit to the applications of colors in and around the workplace. Remember that it’s not only about making things more interesting. If you use it with care and attention, you can seriously make your business more effective in several dimensions.

A few of the critical places you can use color in your company are:

  • Building
  • Interior design and decor
  • Branding
  • Communications
  • Products
  • Signage

In each of these places, the color palette can play multiple roles. Down below are the most important ways that you can use different shades.

Draw attention

A pop of color certainly catches the eye. You can’t help but notice it. That’s why it can be such a great way to draw attention to things you want to like your storefront.   

Of course, bright shades work brilliantly for this. There is a reason why neon was and continues to be so popular on signs. Saturated colors can have a similar effect.

However, it’s not the only option. Unusual hues can also work. Or any color that stands out from its surroundings.


This next use is crucial in places where you are using more than one color. Or where there is lots of content, like on signs. In these cases, it can be easy for some of the information to get lost in a heap.

Various frozen yogurt flavors


Because of this, it’s usually necessary to emphasize the most important parts. It might be your store’s name, a product or service on sale, a slogan, information about a promotion, or so on. You will need to figure out what the central part is of each sign or space.

Ways to use color to highlight are :

  • The eye is more sensitive to specific colors. Examples of those that draw more attention are red, yellow, orange, and green.
  • Use saturated shades for items that you want to stand out. On the other hand, use desaturated hues for the background. Doing this will help the different sections to stand out even more.
  • Pick contrasting colors. For example, make the background of the sign black and the text white.

Visibility and readability

The way you choose and use colors can make content less or more visible. It counts for both text and images.

One way it can make items less clear is when you use colors that are too similar, for example, making a whole sign from different shades of green. You need to use different hues to break up the picture.

Besides this, you want to remember that some colors are more difficult to read, such as yellow. The principle is true for certain combinations as well like red and blue. On the other hand, some specifically darker colors, including black, are much easier to make out.

A pro tip is to follow the general rule of thumb to use light colors on dark backgrounds and vice versa.

Therefore you have to try to make sure that your use of colors enhances readability and visibility.

Brand recognition

Every business owner needs to work carefully on their brand identity. Preferably you want to establish one before you even start your company. But it is something that also evolves and develops over time.

Brand recognition is something that you build over time. You want to use consistent imagery, themes, styles, logos, and slogans.

An absolutely critical element of your visual identity is the colors that you associate with your business. Overall, it will help make your business more recognizable and memorable for your customers. For example, red and Coke are often almost synonymous.

You need to decide on a color palette or scheme. It is best to stick with one to three primary colors. Pick carefully, because you will use this on almost everything to do with your business from advertisements to signs to the decor.

Convey information

Like all other visual cues, colors can also convey information. Similar to symbols, they can be a quick and effective way to communicate with people.

This point is related to the one on your brand identity. But it is about more than that. One of the essential applications of color in this way is on safety and regulatory signage. Over time we learn to associate the specific shades with specific messages just like we do with traffic signs.

In terms of safety signs, the different colors are associated with the following meanings or purposes:

  • Red- Prohibition/danger and alarm or fire fighting equipment
  • Yellow- Warning
  • Blue- Mandatory actions
  • Green- Emergency escape, first aid or to signal that there is no danger

As a business owner, you need to be aware of this when you are creating safety or regulatory signs. But it can also inform your decision on other uses of color.

Inspire emotions

All in all, one of the top uses of colors is to inspire emotions in people. You can influence people to feel happy, sad, calm, or excited. 

Remember that this doesn’t just count for your customers but for your staff too.

Therefore, it’s essential to use colors in this way on your advertising and in the workspace, office, and storefront as well.

The psychology of colors

If you want to successfully and effectively use color for your business, you need to know a little about color psychology. In short, this is the study of colors in relation to human behavior. So it looks at how colors can influence how we feel, how we think, and how we act.

For example, shades of red, orange, and yellow can make people feel hungry and make you think of food. Therefore, it can make you more likely to buy something to eat. 

As we will discuss later on, specific colors can have particular effects on us.

But one vital principle that you have to understand is that they can convey more than one feeling or connotation. Think about green. In one sign, green can help you associate a brand with nature and the environment. But in another, you can use neon green to represent toxic slime.

This tells us that different hues or shades of the same color can have different effects like emerald green vs. neon green. Also, that meaning is created with a specific context, so more than one thing plays a role. 

But how exactly does this happen? An important word here is “association.”


We do not attach meaning to color in a bubble. Humans seem to have certain inborn connections with certain shades like red. But the way they affect us is significantly influenced by our cultural environment and our past experiences.

Did you know, for example, that pink was once associated with boys and blue for girls? 

However, this changed in the 1940s. In this postwar period, clothing stores and brands all over America began to focus on using pink in women’s clothes and vice versa. Over time, as we became more exposed to this combination, people began to take this for granted.

You need to keep this in mind whenever you choose colors to use for your business in signs. It is usually useful to do some research on the specific emotions and ideas your target audience might associate with different palettes.

The best colors to use in signage

For all the reasons above, some colors work better than others when it comes to your business. The principle is correct for your signage too. Some of them are more visible, some of the more attractive, and some of them evoke strong emotions.

So to help you make the right choices, here are the top colors for signs and how they are likely to affect viewers.


Without a doubt, black is a powerful color. Even on its own, it demands your attention. It is one of the more visible shades.

You can use it to create a sense of:

  • Glamour and luxury
  • Mystery
  • Power
  • Boldness
  • Simplicity
  • Security
  • Formality
  • Authority
  • Sophistication

For all these reasons, black is often used by luxury or premium stores like boutiques. And because we associate it with authority and security, it also works well for companies like banks, security firms, and law offices.

Davita Kidney Care Building Sign


On the other hand, blue is often seen as a soothing color. That’s why people use it so often to promote relaxation. Perhaps because of this, we perceive it as conveying a sense of stability as well.

All in all, blue conveys:

  • Stability
  • Efficiency
  • Productivity
  • Calm
  • Peace 
  • Logic
  • Trust
  • Dependable
  • Liberal
  • Smart

Blue is a popular choice for corporate business signage because it can boost productivity and is not invasive. Because it inspires trust, it is also widely used by healthcare organizations.


It’s rare to find a sign without any white in it at all. The color is extremely versatile and doesn’t really clash with any other. So it works well in most combinations. But you can also use it as the main color in your scheme. Just be aware that it can look too cold and sterile if it dominates the palette.

If you need to summarize its associations in one word, it would be purity. That’s why you can use white to suggest:

  • Hygiene
  • Cleanliness
  • Clarity
  • Calm
  • Innocence
  • Youthful
  • Purity
  • Peace
  • Healing
  • Openness
  • Freshness
  • Modernity
  • Minimalism

As you might guess, white can work well for any business for which sanitation is essential like healthcare organizations.

But it can also be handy for any brand that wants to appear modern.


Yellow is a whole other story. It is one of those colors that you can’t miss. In all its many shades, it usually makes us think of sunshine and summer days.

Thanks to this, the color is often associated with the following meanings:

  • Optimism
  • Happiness
  • Inspiration
  • Vitality
  • Freshness
  • Warmth
  • Friendliness
  • Energy
  • Caution

With such a wide range of meanings, this color can work well for any business that wants to portray themselves as vibrant. You can use it to raise energy levels and help keep the atmosphere cheerful.


Green is a color that we almost immediately associate with the natural world. It reminds us of forests, meadows, and rolling landscapes.

This color has become a buzzword over the last two decades because of its associations with environmental protection.

A few of the critical associations with green are:

  • Nature
  • Eco-friendliness
  • Sustainability
  • Health
  • Freshness
  • Growth
  • Rejuvenation
  • Calm
  • Quiet
  • Hope

This is the color to go with if your business has anything to do with nature or the environment. But you should also consider it if you want to be associated with health, such as an organic grocery store.

Tips on using and choosing colors

  • Use palettes, not individual shades: You don’t want to choose individual shades at random. Instead, you want to select a range of colors for each piece that blends well. This will help make the whole image more appealing. On top of this, using hues with similar effects can amplify the impact that the sign makes.
  • Keep it simple: Don’t go overboard with using different colors. In the end, your image will look garish and possibly tacky. Instead, select up to three primary colors. 
  • Shades of one color: Using only two or three colors doesn’t limit you. In some ways, it opens up new possibilities. Palettes that use different hues of one primary color are usually far more effective. For example, you can use cool-gray, blue-gray, slate gray, and even platinum.
  • Prevent fading: One potential downside of using colors on signs is that they can fade over time. Unfortunately, this can significantly detract from its appearance. But there are solutions to this. A pro tip is to ask for UV ink which is more resistant to water and fading.

Color me excited

As you can see, colors are an essential resource for business owners. They impact the people around your business in subconscious ways that are sometimes more powerful than words. There are endless ways you can cleverly use different shades of color throughout your company and particularly in your signage.

Learning more about aspects of design like colors palettes can open a whole world of possibilities for your advertising. It can also open up a range of new ways of communicating with your customers.